Monday, August 31, 2015

The Lord Provides a Way

Hey y'all!

I'm a little bit shorter on time today, so this email will probably be shorter than previous ones! But know I am doing well and having a glorious time here in Columbia!

Here's a quick rundown on this week!

Monday: We had FHE with a less active family where we are now working to baptized their unbaptized 9 year old girl! They are a fun family with crazy stories!

Tuesday: We taught this darling 9 year old boy! He's so cool and understands really well! The only hard thing is his mom is a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson and so she's always gone so it's a bit hard
to coordinate schedules.

Wednesday: We had exchanges! They kept me in the area,which was exciting seeing as how I'd only been in the area a week. But it also meant I got to be the driver! It was awesome, but a little weird to drive again after not having driven at all for two months! But we didn't get in a crash (which is quite the accomplishment here. There were so many crashes this week, including one where the sisters I live with were in. Luckily they weren't hurt or at fault!)

Thursday: We were knocking in an apartment complex after a canceled appointment and we knocked into a less active who moved there three months ago! It was a huge miracle and so we get to start working with her and her friend now! It's pretty exciting!

Friday: Nothing really exciting happened, just a usual day in the mission field!

Saturday: It was quite the interesting day haha! Both me and my companion woke up very sick. I had been badly glutenized at my Thursday dinner, and Sister Webb has these big blisters in the back of her throat and a terrible cough. We didn't want to stop the work of the Lord though, so we got up and had our usual morning. We went to the role play for Fort Jackson and then started to continue with the rest of our day. We were both feeling pretty terrible and sister Webb was having a hard time breathing. All of our plans kept falling through and suddenly all of our appointments were canceled. We didn't even have a dinner appointment. We both felt that that was Gods way of telling us we needed to go rest. We got permission to stay in, but we didn't really want to. We kept trying to go out and work, but each time we did, things just didn't work out. So we laughed and knew that God really just wanted us to rest. It helped us to feel better so we can work hard now instead of still being really sick haha!

Sunday: Was great as usual! On Fort Jackson Private S. was baptized! He was the one I taught a few weeks ago that didn't have any religious background or belief in Christ until he came to church on Fort Jackson! It was amazing to see how much he's changed in just the few weeks of coming to church! Then I went to the Columbia Ward and continued to get to know people there! 

It was a great week and I learned how God really does provide a way. Sometimes the plans we make are canceled so we can recover from illness. Sometimes they are canceled so that we can knock into a less active who has been praying for a sign. Sometimes you feel inspired to make plans that aren't the most conservative mile wise, but they lead you to a family who is curious. Whatever the case, whatever the situation you are currently in, there is a path and a plan provided for you. God created the plan, and Christ set the path. I hope this week y'all can see this more fully in your lives and y'all can look for the ways that God's hand is guiding you!

I hope y'all have a great week! I love y'all so much!

Love always,

Sister Amy Bennett :)


Monday, August 24, 2015

He provides a clear map and points the way toward our desired destination.

Hey y'all!!

I was really tempted to start this email with all this boring regular stuff, like the weather forecast for this entire week, or the exact details of my outfit today, or what I ate for breakfast, but I decided instead of torturing y'all like that, I'll just jump to the good stuff!

So exciting things happened the week because it was transfers!!!! Yay!!!! Last Monday I ran around like crazy packing and cleaning my apartment. Tuesday I ran around saying goodbye and teaching lessons to the people I had grown close to. Then Wednesday I threw the last few things in my bags and then headed up to Irmo where the transfer meetings are held. Because Sister Ward was going to be training again she needed to go to a "trainers meeting" that is held for about an hour an a half before the transfer meeting itself starts. During this hour and a half I was without a companion and very grateful for the company of the member that had driven us. But my curiosity was driving me crazy. I can't even remember the last time I had an hour and a half go by so slowly. Then Transfer meeting itself started. By this point I was about to go crazy and just wanted them to announce where I was going immediately. But unfortunately there was a long opening song, then they introduced the new missionaries (simply stated their names and where they're from), and then had a musical number, and then finally they started the transfer slide show. So in the slide show they go by zone and they have a slide per area where a transfer is occurring. For example in my last area there was a slide that said "Lake Murray Sisters" then it had on one side "Staying on and being called as a trainer" and then they put up the picture of Sister Ward and said her name. Then the other half of the slide came up which said "Transferring in:" and then the put up my picture and said my name. It's very fun, but as a missionary nervously watching the slide show it's very annoying when your new area is not the first slide. Or even in the first zone. And you're just sitting there waiting and waiting and going crazy. Then finally you see your name on the slide and you look over at the other Sister who is already standing and you know that the next six weeks are going to be great.

Now as for the fun part, where I actually am! My new area is the Columbia Ward!! Now that may not seem super exciting at first, besides it being the Capitol of South Carolina, but let me explain the good part. So... my last area I served on Fort Jackson, right? Well there are two sets of Sisters that are among those that go to Fort Jackson and they are the Lake Murray Sisters and the Columbia Sisters!! This means that I still get to serve on Fort Jackson and I will still see Sister Ward every Saturday and Sunday! How crazy is that?? It also means that I already knew my new companion. As a Fort Jackson "District" we have a meeting every Saturday to discuss what needs to happen the next day (i.e. who's getting baptized, who needs to be taught what). And after these meetings the four Sisters all go out to lunch. It's really fun. So for the past 6 weeks I have been having lunch with my new companion every Saturday and then working with her every Sunday. So that's really fun!

Now onto my companion! Her name is Sister Webb. She has been out on her mission for 13 months! This is her third area and she has never kept a companion more than a transfer while she has been here (this is now her fourth transfer here). So we'll see what happens in 6 weeks haha ;) She is from near Saint George, Utah. She is super awesome and a great teacher! It's been a lot of fun already and it has been a much easier transition since I already knew her! I can already tell it's going to be a great transfer! We are going to work hard, but still have fun on the way. So I'm really excited!!

Well now that I've gotten all that out of the way, I'll tell y'all the highlights of the rest of my week or just some other random/fun facts about my new area. My district is tiny. We have three companionships total. It is the Columbia Sisters, the Columbia Elders, and the Hopkin Sisters. My districts is nicknamed the "Sistrict" because it is the only district with more Sisters than Elders! Haha! I guess I'll get to know everyone in my district really well! We actually share an apartment with the Hopkin Sisters, who just so happen to be the Sister Training Leaders. That will make exchanges funny because I'll still at the same apartment with my companion, we will just be going to different areas during the day haha!!! There's not a whole lot going on in the area right now because of some challenges that happened last transfer with a few of the missionaries, so Sister Webb and I are working extra hard to update all of our records and help the Elders do that same! It's been a lot of work, but we can all feel excitement in the air and that good things are coming. Hopefully not too far off haha! This week on Fort Jackson we had one baptism. Private S.! Also I got to teach some really cool people. One of them, Private Sm., he sat down half way through me teaching the Restoration to his battle buddy and he was talking about how coming to this church he felt like he was home and he wondered when he could be baptized! I got to teach him lessons two and three after sacrament meeting and he was so excited. He said that after today he knew the LDS church was the true church of God and then he asked me if he could start living the commandments before he was baptized! It was amazing! I am so happy that I still get to remain on Fort Jackson and have at least 6 more weeks to see the Lord's work progress there!

Well I think that's about it for right now! I am really excited to be in Columbia where I will get to go to the State House (the Capitol Building) and some museums on p-days. Also there is a Trader Joe's in my area so I can go by their amazing gluten free snickerdoodles haha! Also it's just fun being in the center and Capitol of the State!! Fun things happen. Oh also as a cool thing about my area. Fort Jackson is now actually in my area so we will get to see a few of the member of less active families that live there. It also means that we meet a lot of drill sergeants who live just outside Fort Jackson. We are actually teaching one right now, but they are super busy and always working so it's a little hard to coordinate schedules with them. But it's a really cool place and I'll keep y'all updated on the happenings here!

As for a Spiritual thought I want to share a quote with y'all. This is a quote from President Monson's talk in the Priesthood session of the October 2014 conference.

"Our Father provided the sun, the moon, and the stars- heavenly galaxies to guide mariners who sail the lanes of the sea. To us, as we walk the pathway of life, He provides a clear map and points the way toward our desired destination. He cautions: beware the detours, the pitfalls, the traps. We cannot be deceived by those who would lead us astray, those clever pied pipers of sin beckoning here or there. Instead, we pause to pray; we listen to that still small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master's gentle invitation, "Come, follow me."

In this life we have all be given tools that help to guide us away from the sins of the world. One of those is that we have a prophet on the Earth. Private Sm. yesterday was so excited to hear that we have a Prophet on the Earth today who speaks to everyone two times a year. Seeing his excitement and wonder over that has really gotten me thinking of just how amazing that is. So I invite y'all to find a talk by President Monson from any conference and to read it and apply it to your life how ever you see fit!

I love y'all so much and I hope that y'all have a great week!!

Love always,

Sister Amy Bennett :)

The Package from the Hassell girls

Saturday Evening Stake Conference

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Lord's hand is in everything

Hey y'all!!

So a lot has happened since the last time I talked to y'all. It's been a crazy week!

First off yesterday on Fort Jackson we made our goal of 4 baptisms! It was amazing! It seemed like another week where we weren't quite going to reach our goal, but miracles are real. It's been really cool to see how much the soldiers light up after they are baptized. The gospel blesses everyone no matter where they are.

Also we got two new investigators! Funny story behind this. We were seeing one of our investigators and she was outside talking to her friend. We walked up to them and her friend thought that we were from the government. We briefly explained who we were and what we do on a mission. We talked about how we teach people about Christ and he immediately said he knew someone who needed that and asked if we could go see them. We said yes and he gave us the address. On our third attempt of trying to contact this person, she was finally home. When we got inside we soon realized that the guy who had given us this referral is her fiancé. So basically it ended up being a self referral and we think he was too embarrassed to say that in front of his friend. We laughed pretty hard about that. We've been able to teach them a couple times and then are going back again tonight!

The next really exciting thing is that M got baptized!!!!!!!! We were able to quickly pull everything together and it ended up being an amazing service! He said that he was so happy and after his confirmation on Sunday he said he felt like he was now part of the family. It was adorable! After the baptism service the Elders in my ward got on the topics of first names and they were trying to guess my first name. While they were M immediately said, "Amy." He said it so confidently, I wondered who had told him. After the Elders guessed, I asked if he already knew. He hadn't and he looked very surprised and pleased when I told him that he had guessed right haha!! It was a great day!!!

 As for the last bit of exciting news.... I am getting transferred on Wednesday! This was very unexpected, to say the least. My mission president is a big fan of keeping missionaries is the same place for a long time. The average he keeps someone in one area is 6 months. The missionary before me was here for nine months. Also training is 12 weeks, or two transfers, and missionaries are most commonly with their trainer for all 12 weeks. Also in the interviews we had a few weeks ago, President made it sound like, to both me and Sister Ward separately, that we'd be together for at least two more transfers. The way transfer calls work is that on Friday, President Turner will call all the missionaries who are being placed into leadership (training, district leader, etc.) and tell them. On Saturday the Zone Leaders send out a group voicemail saying the names of all the missionaries in the Zone that are being transferred. So for us we got a call on Friday from President telling Sister Ward that she's starting training again with another brand new missionary! If this HAD been the end of my training and Sister Ward wasn't going to train again, I wouldn't find out that I was being transferred until the group call. We don't find out where we are going or who we are going to be with until the transfer meeting on Wednesday. In the phone call to Sister Ward, President said that I was going to be placed in a training trio. Meaning that here was one trainer and two sisters that are in the second half of training. But when I saw the Assistants on Saturday for Fort Jackson Role Play, they told me that might be changing. So I guess I'll find out Wednesday haha!

So yeah, it was an exciting week, and exciting times are ahead. One thing I've learned so much on my mission is how much the Lord's hand is in everything. He's able to coordinate everything so perfectly, especially as far as missionary work goes. The Mission President spends a lot of time working on transfers. When we got the call that I was leaving, I was a little sad. I feel like I was just barely starting to get to know people really well here, we just had a baptism, and my trainer is awesome. But I knew that it is the right thing for me to be leaving. My curiosity is starting to drive me crazy though haha! But I challenge you all this week to look more at how the Lord's hand is guiding your life. It'll be fun, I promise ;)

Well that's about it for this week haha! Stay tuned next week for where I am and who I'm with! It'll be an adventure for sure! I love y'all so much!!

Love always,

Sister Amy Bennett :)

 1. This is the Fort Jackson "District."


 2. This was my district for this transfer. Three of us are leaving.

3. M's baptism!!! (We are doing the "hang loose" equivalent in Micronesia)


Monday, August 10, 2015

Miracles are all around us!

Hey y'all!

As you could probably tell for the subject line, this week had some exciting things happen! First of all it rained on Wednesday!!! That was a lot of fun, but we also got very wet. This was my first rain storm since being here and then it rained almost everyday the rest of the week. Wednesday and Thursday were really crazy though haha! The one hard thing is that when it is raining, no one opens their doors. Not even people with set appointments really want to open their door in a rain storm, so it makes missionary work a little difficult. But we had a miracle Thursday! Even though it was crazy rain, every door we knocked on, someone answered. We actually did no street knocking that day because we were able to talk to a lot of people! The funny part was on Thursday we taught the exact same number of lessons that we had taught all of the previous week combined! It was really amazing to see how God gives us hard days to appreciate the good days even more!

Another fun thing from this week is we got bikes! (Picture below) although it is an adjustment to learn how to get on and off bikes in a skirt, they have actually made it so we could contact people we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. Plus riding a bike adds a little bit of a breeze that walked doesn't, so it actually felt cooler to be on a bike haha! So we were excited about that!

Also exciting is that Cheerios are now producing gluten free!!! I found my first box of gluten free honey nut cheerios! I was so happy! That's all I ate for breakfast this week!!! It also makes me excited for when a few other flavor a of Cheerios go gluten free!

As for the biggest miracle this week, M was at Church yesterday!!! So his boss didn't want to give him Sunday off and all week we were praying for a solution. Sister Ward and I felt like we needed to move forward with faith and that everything was going to be okay. M kept asking his boss for Sunday off so he could be at Church, and he even talked to the person over his boss. But it kept not happening. We went to bed Saturday night before he got off his shift. In the morning he had called us and left a simple message. He said, "I have good news. I can come to Church." We were really excited to say the least! It also meant that we no longer would need to push back his baptismal date. During weekly planning we both kept feeling like we needed to plan for his baptism this week, but we were a little unsure. We moved forward with faith, and miracles happened. We found out that he was scheduled to work all day Saturday (the day of his baptism) and his boss wouldn't give him time Saturday and Sunday off, believable. We asked and found out that we could hold his baptism on a day that wasn't Saturday. His day off of work is usually Thursdays. We figured that we could ask him if he would want to be baptized this Thursday or wait until next Thursday. Before he answer both me and Sister Ward knew he was ready for this Thursday and that is what he said too! That makes the next few days a little crazy, so that we can have everything for his baptism all ready in 3 days haha! But I can really feel the Spirit guiding everything and the Lord is helping everything fall into place. So we are keeping our fingers crossed and a prayer in our heart for a baptism Thursday! It was really a great lesson on moving forward with faith and the Lord will provide a way!!

A scripture I really liked in my study this week is 3 Nephi 20:42. It reads: "For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward." So basically Christ will go before us, or He did go before us. He came to Earth and set the example for how we should be living our lives. He's like the guide in a giant exploration and He blazes the trail for us. God is behind us on the exploration so that if we stumble or fall, He is there to catch us. This verse gave me a really cool visual that I wish I could project into this email, but unfortunately that technology doesn't exist yet haha! But basically we don't walk this earth life alone. We are surrounded on all sides by people or Heavenly Beings that are there to help us :)

This week was a big example to me that miracles are all around us. Some are big, like M getting to come to Church on Sunday. And some are small, like finding a box of Gluten Free Cheerios at Walmart. Either way, miracles surround us because God loves each of his children and He has created the plan for us to return to live with him!

I hope that y'all have a great week and that your lives are going well! I hope that we all begin to recognize more fully the miracles that surround us :) I love y'all!

Love always,

Sister Bennett :)

1. Bikes!!

2. What is this place? (Look closely at the street signs)

3 and 4. What a baptism at Fort Jackson looks like.

5. Teaching at Fort Jackson!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God

Hey y'all!

It's me again! This week has been very long, but it can't possibly already be Monday again haha! There were some bumps in the road, that made this week a bit more challenging and we had extra meetings so we didn't have as much time to proselyte as we normally do, but the work continued anyway!! There were a few exciting things that happened this week, mainly our investigator M (hence the subject line). But I'm going to save best for last and talk about him at the end of my email.

As for a few random occurrences of the week... One is that two people this week made the connection that I am related to Lynden and Marta Bennett! The first is an Elder Kendall in my district who is friends with Jaren. The second is a Sister in my ward, Nancy Cheney, who lived in Morgan about 20 years ago! What a small world haha! A funny occurrence this week is there is a yellow door on one of the houses on the street of one of our investigators. The funny part is apparently I have noticed it each time we've gone to her house and then forgotten about it and noticed it again the next time we are on the street. Apparently I have done that every time we've been on that street and have no memory of it hahaha!!!

As far as a Fort Jackson update (because I love Fort Jackson). The Spirit hasn't stop performing miracles! This week we had one baptism, which we hadn't been anticipating, so we were very excited!!! Also I got to teach one of the classes this week! So instead of teaching one on one lessons with soldiers after sacrament meeting, I taught the non member class, which is basically teaching the Restoration lesson to a group of soldiers all by myself! It's pretty crazy, but the alone teaching is becoming easier each week! There were some really cool soldiers in the class! The soldiers never cease to amaze me! Lots of them have really cool and crazy stories to tell! Also testimony meeting on Fort Jackson yesterday was amazing. The spirit is already so strong there because of how humble and searching the soldiers are, but then to add on the simple testimonies of quite a few soldiers was very powerful!!

Now onto the exciting part! So we have this investigator named M. I honestly can't remember if I mentioned him in last weeks email. Anyway we found him in our lead book and he set a date for baptism that we are working towards. We had a lesson with him last week and he talked about how he believes everything he is reading in the Book of Mormon is true and the several ways he has already seen daily reading bless his life! Yesterday he came to Church for the first time! We were so excited to say the least!! He teared up in both sacrament meeting and Sunday school! We asked him after sacrament meeting how he felt and he said, "blessed." After church we asked what he thought and he told us he wants to come back every week and that everyone felt like his family!! The only struggle is that after church his boss told him that he couldn't have any more Sunday's off because the other workers are too slow and Sunday is their busiest day. He called us really sad because he wants to keep coming to church, but doesn't know how he can now. Please keep him in your prayers. Sister Ward and I talked about how everyone should be M because one of the main struggles we have is that people don't read the Book of Mormon so they don't get an answer of whether or not it's true and they don't see the correlation. M understood he needed to read to get his answer and the he found out for himself it was true! We are really excited and I'm happy that I get to keep working with him. We are praying hard and keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to figure out what to do about his job situation.

Well other than that it was a pretty uneventful week. We did a little bit more to help a family finish moving. We got to meet a couple new families this week that had just moved into the Ward. We got to teach Sunday school yesterday. And we got to do a lot of work! One of my favorite quotes is "the secret to missionary work is work." Haha!

As for a spiritual thought this week is Mosiah 2:41! It kept popping up in random places (like unrelated people talking about that scripture) this week so I figured I'd better pay attention to is haha! It says: "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." So basically God wants us all to be happy, we just have to keep his commandments and He'll fill in the rest!

I hope that y'all have a great week! Thanks for all the love and support y'all have shown me! Let me know is there's anything I can do for any of y'all!

Love always,

Sister Amy Bennett :)

Random selfie :)